The Merry Wives of Windsor

Select or Print the text

Original text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Mistris Page, Quickly, William, Euans.

Mist. Pag.
Is he at M. Fords already think'st
thou?

Qui.
Sure he is by this; or will be presently;
but truely he is very couragious mad, about his
throwing into the water. Mistris Ford desires you to
come sodainely.

Mist. Pag.
Ile be with her by and by: Ile but
bring my yong-man here to Schoole: looke where his
Master comes;

'tis a playing day I see: how now Sir Hugh, no Schoole
to day?

Eua.
No: Master Slender is let the Boyes leaue to play.

Qui
'Blessing of his heart.

Mist. Pag.
Sir Hugh, my husband saies my sonne
profits nothing in the world at his Booke: I pray you
aske him some questions in his Accidence.

Eu.
Come hither William; hold vp your head; come.

Mist. Pag.
Come-on Sirha; hold vp your head;
answere your Master, be not afraid.

Eua.
William, how many Numbers is in Nownes?

Will.
Two.

Qui.
Truely, I thought there had bin
one Number more, because they say od's-Nownes.

Eua.
Peace, your tatlings. What is (Faire) William?

Will.
Pulcher.

Qu.
Powlcats? there are fairer things
then Powlcats, sure.

Eua.
You are a very simplicity o'man: I pray you peace.
What is (Lapis) William?

Will.
A Stone.

Eua.
And what is a Stone (William?)

Will.
A Peeble.

Eua.
No; it is Lapis: I pray you remember in your praine.

Will.
Lapis.

Eua.
That is a good William: what is he (William) that
do's lend Articles.

Will.
Articles are borrowed of the Pronoune; and be
thus declined. Singulariter nominatiuo hic haec, hoc.

Eua.
Nominatiuo hig, hag, hog: pray you marke:
genitiuo huius: Well: what is your Accusatiue-case?

Will.
Accusatiuo hinc.

Eua.
I pray you haue your remembrance (childe)
Accusatiuo hing, hang, hog.

Qu.
Hang-hog, is latten for Bacon, I
warrant you.

Eua.
Leaue your prables (o'man) What is the Focatiue
case (William?)

Will.
O, Vocatiuo, O.

Eua.
Remember William, Focatiue, is caret.

Qu.
And that's a good roote.

Eua.
O'man, forbeare.

Mist. Pag.
Peace.

Eua.
What is your Genitiue case plurall (William?)

Will.
Genitiue case?

Eua.
I.

Will.
Genitiue horum, harum, horum.

Qu.
'Vengeance of Ginyes case; fie on
her; neuer name her (childe) if she be a whore.

Eua.
For shame o'man.

Qu.
You doe ill to teach the childe such
words: hee teaches him to hic, and to hac; which they'll
doe fast enough of themselues, and to call horum; fie
vpon you.

Euans.
O'man, art thou Lunaties? Hast thou no vnderstandings
for thy Cases, & the numbers of the Genders?
Thou art as foolish Christian creatures, as I would
desires.

Mi. Page.
Pre'thee hold thy peace.

Eu.
Shew me now (William) some declensions of your
Pronounes.

Will.
Forsooth, I haue forgot.

Eu.
It is Qui, que, quod; if you forget your Quies, your
Ques, and your Quods, you must be preeches: Goe your
waies and play, go.

M. Pag.
He is a better scholler then I thought he
was.

Eu.
He is a good sprag-memory: Farewel Mis.
Page.

Mis. Page.
Adieu good Sir Hugh:
Get you home boy, Come we stay too long.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Falstoffe, Mist. Ford, Mist. Page, Seruants, Ford, Page, Caius, Euans, Shallow.

Fal.
Mi. Ford, Your sorrow hath eaten vp my
sufferance; I see you are obsequious in your loue, and I
professe requitall to a haires bredth, not onely Mist.
Ford, in the simple office of loue, but in all the accustrement,
complement, and ceremony of it: But are you sure
of your husband now?

Mis. Ford.
Hee's a birding (sweet Sir Iohn.)

Mis. Page.

What hoa, gossip Ford: what hoa.

Mis. Ford.
Step into th'chamber, Sir Iohn.

Mis. Page.
How now (sweete heart) whose at home
besides your selfe?

Mis Ford.
Why none but mine owne people.

Mis. Page.
Indeed?

Mis. Ford.
No certainly: Speake
louder.

Mist. Pag.
Truly, I am so glad you haue no body
here.

Mist. Ford.
Why?

Mis. Page.
Why woman, your husband is in his
olde lines againe: he so takes on yonder with my husband,
so railes against all married mankinde; so curses all
Eues daughters, of what complexion soeuer; and so
buffettes himselfe on the for-head: crying peere-out, peere-
out, that any madnesse I euer yet beheld, seem'd but
tamenesse, ciuility, and patience to this his distemper he
is in now: I am glad the fat Knight is not heere.

Mist. Ford.
Why, do's he talke of him?

Mist. Page.
Of none but him, and sweares he was
caried out the last time hee search'd for him, in a
Basket: Protests to my husband he is now heere, & hath
drawne him and the rest of their company from their
sport, to make another experiment of his suspition: But
I am glad the Knight is not heere; now he shall see his
owne foolerie.

Mist. Ford.
How neere is he Mistris Page?

Mist. Pag.
Hard by, at street end; he wil be here
anon.

Mist. Ford.
I am vndone, the Knight is heere.

Mist. Page.
Why then you are vtterly sham'd, &
hee's but a dead man. What a woman are you? Away
with him, away with him: Better shame, then murther.

Mist. Ford.
Which way should he go? How should
I bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket againe?

Fal.
No, Ile come no more i'th Basket: May I not
go out ere he come?

Mist. Page.
Alas: three of Mr. Fords brothers
watch the doore with Pistols, that none shall issue out:
otherwise you might slip away ere hee came: But what
make you heere?

Fal.
What shall I do? Ile creepe vp into the
chimney.

Mist. Ford.
There they alwaies vse to discharge their
Birding-peeces:
creepe into the Kill-hole.

Fal.
Where is it?

Mist. Ford.
He will seeke there on my word: Neyther
Presse, Coffer, Chest, Trunke, Well, Vault, but he hath an
abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes
to them by his Note: There is no hiding you in the
house.

Fal.
Ile go out then.

Mist. Ford.
If you goe out in your owne semblance,
you die Sir Iohn, vnlesse you go out disguis'd.

Mist. Ford.
How might we disguise him?

Mist. Page.
Alas the day I know not, there is no
womans gowne bigge enough for him: otherwise he might
put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchiefe, and so escape.

Fal.
Good hearts, deuise something: any extremitie,
rather then a mischiefe.

Mist. Ford.
My Maids Aunt the fat woman of
Brainford, has a gowne aboue.

Mist. Page.
On my word it will serue him: shee's as
big as he is: and there's her thrum'd hat, and her
muffler too: run vp Sir Iohn.

Mist. Ford.
Go, go, sweet Sir Iohn: Mistris Page
and I will looke some linnen for your head.

Mist. Page.
Quicke, quicke, wee'le come dresse you
straight: put on the gowne the while.

Mist. Ford.
I would my husband would meete him
in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of
Brainford; he sweares she's a witch, forbad her my
house, and hath threatned to beate her.

Mist. Page.
Heauen guide him to thy husbands
cudgell: and the diuell guide his cudgell afterwards.

Mist. Ford.
But is my husband comming?

Mist. Page.
I in good sadnesse is he, and talkes of
the basket too, howsoeuer he hath had intelligence.

Mist. Ford.
Wee'l try that: for Ile appoint my men
to carry the basket againe, to meete him at the doore with
it, as they did last time.

Mist. Page.
Nay, but hee'l be heere presently: let's
go dresse him like the witch of Brainford.

Mist. Ford.
Ile first direct my men, what they shall
doe with the basket: Goe vp, Ile bring linnen for him
straight.

Mist. Page.
Hang him dishonest Varlet, / We cannot
misuse enough:
We'll leaue a proofe by that which we will doo,
Wiues may be merry, and yet honest too:
We do not acte that often, iest, and laugh,
'Tis old, but true, Still Swine eats all the draugh.

Mist. Ford.
Go Sirs, take the basket againe on your
shoulders: your Master is hard at doore: if hee bid you
set it downe, obey him: quickly, dispatch.

1 Ser.
Come, come, take it vp.

2 Ser.
Pray heauen it be not full of Knight againe.

1 Ser.
I hope not, I had liefe as beare so much lead.

Ford.
I, but if it proue true (Mr. Page) haue you any
way then to vnfoole me againe. Set downe the basket
villaine: some body call my wife: Youth in a basket: Oh
you Panderly Rascals, there's a knot: a gin, a packe, a
conspiracie against me: Now shall the diuel be sham'd.
What wife I say: Come, come forth: behold what
honest cloathes you send forth to bleaching.

Page.
Why, this passes M. Ford: you are not to goe
loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd.

Euans.
Why, this is Lunaticks: this is madde, as a mad dogge.

Shall.
Indeed M. Ford, thi is not well indeed.

Ford.
So say I too Sir,
come hither Mistris Ford, Mistris Ford, the honest
woman, the modest wife, the vertuous creature, that
hath the iealious foole to her husband: I suspect without
cause (Mistris) do I?

Mist. Ford.
Heauen be my witnesse you doe, if you
suspect me in any dishonesty.

Ford.
Well said Brazon-face, hold it out: Come forth
sirrah.

Page.
This passes.

Mist. Ford.
Are you not asham'd, let the cloths
alone.

Ford.
I shall finde you anon.

Eua.
'Tis vnreasonable; will you take vp your wiues
cloathes? Come, away.

Ford.
Empty the basket I say.

M. Ford.
Why man, why?

Ford.
Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conuay'd
out of my house yesterday in this basket: why
may not he be there againe, in my house I am sure he is:
my Intelligence is true, my iealousie is reasonable,
pluck me out all the linnen.

Mist. Ford.
If you find a man there, he shall dye a
Fleas death.

Page.
Heer's no man.

Shal.
By my fidelity this is not well Mr. Ford:
This wrongs you.

Euans.
Mr Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
imaginations of your owne heart: this is iealousies.

Ford.
Well, hee's not heere I seeke for.

Page.
No, nor no where else but in your braine.

Ford.
Helpe to search my house this one time: if I find
not what I seeke, shew no colour for my extremity: Let
me for euer be your Table-sport: Let them say of me, as
iealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow Wall-nut for his
wiues Lemman. Satisfie me once more, once more serch
with me.

M. Ford.
What hoa (Mistris Page,) come you and
the old woman downe: my husband will come into the
Chamber.

Ford.
Old woman? what old womans that?

M. Ford.
Why it is my maids Aunt of Brainford.

Ford.
A witch, a Queane, an olde couzening queane: Haue I not
forbid her my house. She comes of errands do's she?
We are simple men, wee doe not know what's brought to
passe vnder the profession of Fortune-telling. She workes
by Charmes, by Spels, by th'Figure, & such dawbry as
this is, beyond our Element: wee know nothing. Come
downe you Witch, you Hagge you, come downe I say.

Mist. Ford.
Nay, good sweet husband, good
Gentlemen, let him strike the old woman.

Mist. Page.
Come mother Prat, Come giue me your
hand.

Ford.
Ile Prat-her:

Out of my doore, you Witch, you Ragge, you Baggage, you
Poulcat, you Runnion, out, out: Ile coniure you, Ile
fortune-tell you.

Mist. Page.
Are you not asham'd? I thinke you haue
kill'd the poore woman.

Mist. Ford.
Nay he will do it, 'tis a goodly credite
for you.

Ford.
Hang her witch.

Eua.
By yea, and no, I thinke the o'man is a witch indeede:
I like not when a o'man has a great peard; I spie a great
peard vnder his muffler.

Ford.
Will you follow Gentlemen, I beseech you follow:
see but the issue of my iealousie: If I cry out thus vpon
no traile, neuer trust me when I open againe.

Page.
Let's obey his humour a little further: Come
Gentlemen.

Mist. Page.
Trust me he beate him most pittifully.

Mist. Ford.
Nay by th'Masse that he did not: he
beate him most vnpittifully, me thought.

Mist. Page.
Ile haue the cudgell hallow'd, and hung
ore the Altar, it hath done meritorious seruice.

Mist. Ford.
What thinke you? May we with the warrant of
woman-hood, and the witnesse of a good
conscience, pursue him with any further reuenge?

M. Page.
The spirit of wantonnesse is sure scar'd
out of him, if the diuell haue him not in fee-simple, with
fine and recouery, he will neuer (I thinke) in the way of
waste, attempt vs againe.

Mist. Ford.
Shall we tell our husbands how wee haue
seru'd him?

Mist. Page.
Yes, by all meanes: if it be but to scrape
the figures out of your husbands braines: if they can
find in their hearts, the poore vnuertuous fat Knight shall
be any further afflicted, wee two will still bee the ministers.

Mist. Ford.
Ile warrant, they'l haue him publiquely
sham'd, and me thinkes there would be no period to the
iest, should he not be publikely sham'd.

Mist. Page.
Come, to the Forge with it, then
shape it: I would not haue things coole.
Exeunt
Original text
Act IV, Scene III
Enter Host and Bardolfe.

Bar.
Sir, the Germane desires to haue three of your
horses: the Duke himselfe will be to morrow at Court,
and they are going to meet him.

Host.
What Duke should that be comes so secretly? I
heare not of him in the Court: let mee speake with the
Gentlemen, they speake English?

Bar.
I Sir? Ile call him to you.

Host.
They shall haue my horses, but Ile make them pay:
Ile sauce them, they haue had my houses a week at
commaund: I haue turn'd away my other guests, they
must come off, Ile sawce them, come.
Exeunt
Original text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter Page, Ford, Mistris Page, Mistris Ford, and
Euans.

Eua.
'Tis one of the best discretions of a o'man as euer
I did looke vpon.

Page.
And did he send you both these Letters at an instant?

Mist. Page.
Within a quarter of an houre.

Ford.
Pardon me (wife) henceforth do what yu wilt:
I rather will suspect the Sunne with gold,
Then thee with wantonnes: Now doth thy honor stand
(In him that was of late an Heretike)
As firme as faith.

Page.
'Tis well, 'tis well, no more:
Be not as extreme in submission,
as in offence,
But let our plot go forward: Let our wiues
Yet once againe (to make vs publike sport)
Appoint a meeting with this old fat-fellow,
Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.

Ford.
There is no better way then that they spoke of.

Page.
How? to send him word they'll meete him in the
Parke at midnight? Fie, fie, he'll neuer come.

Eu.
You say he has bin throwne in the Riuers: and has
bin greeuously peaten, as an old o'man: me-thinkes there
should be terrors in him, that he should not come:
Me-thinkes his flesh is punish'd, hee shall haue no desires.

Page.
So thinke I too.

M. Ford.
Deuise but how you'l vse him whẽ he comes,
And let vs two deuise to bring him thether.

Mis. Page.
There is an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter
(sometime a keeper heere in Windsor Forrest)
Doth all the winter time, at still midnight
Walke round about an Oake, with great rag'd-hornes,
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And make milch-kine yeeld blood, and shakes a chaine
In a most hideous and dreadfull manner.
You haue heard of such a Spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed-Eld
Receiu'd, and did deliuer to our age
This tale of Herne the Hunter, for a truth.

Page.
Why yet there want not many that do feare
In deepe of night to walke by this Hernes Oake:
But what of this?

Mist. Ford.
Marry this is our deuise,
That Falstaffe at that Oake shall meete with vs.

Page.
Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,
And in this shape, when you haue brought him thether,
What shall be done with him? What is your plot?

Mist.Pa.
That likewise haue we thoght vpon: & thus:
Nan Page (my daughter) and my little sonne,
And three or foure more of their growth, wee'l dresse
Like Vrchins, Ouphes, and Fairies, greene and white,
With rounds of waxen Tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands; vpon a sodaine,
As Falstaffe, she, and I, are newly met,
Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once
With some diffused song: Vpon their sight
We two, in great amazednesse will flye:
Then let them all encircle him about,
And Fairy-like to pinch the vncleane Knight;
And aske him why that houre of Fairy Reuell,
In their so sacred pathes, he dares to tread
In shape prophane.

Ford.
And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed Fairies pinch him, sound,
And burne him with their Tapers.

Mist. Page.
The truth being knowne,
We'll all present our selues; dis-horne the spirit,
And mocke him home to Windsor.

Ford.
The children must
Be practis'd well to this, or they'll neu'r doo't.

Eua.
I will teach the children their behauiours: and I
will be like a Iacke-an-Apes also, to burne the Knight with
my Taber.

Ford.
That will be excellent, / Ile go buy them vizards.

Mist. Page.
My Nan shall be the Queene of all the Fairies,
finely attired in a robe of white.

Page.
That silke will I go buy, and in that time
Shall M. Slender steale my Nan away,
And marry her at Eaton: go, send to Falstaffe straight.

Ford.
Nay, Ile to him againe in name of Broome,
Hee'l tell me all his purpose: sure hee'l come.

Mist. Page.
Feare not you that: Go get vs properties
And tricking for our Fayries.

Euans.
Let vs about it, / It is admirable pleasures, and ferry
honest knaueries.

Mis. Page.
Go Mist. Ford,
Send quickly to Sir Iohn, to know his minde:
Ile to the Doctor, he hath my good will,
And none but he to marry with Nan Page:
That Slender (though well landed) is an Ideot:
And he, my husband best of all affects:
The Doctor is well monied, and his friends
Potent at Court: he, none but he shall haue her,
Though twenty thousand worthier come to craue her.
Original text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter Host, Simple, Falstaffe, Bardolfe, Euans, Caius, Quickly.

Host.
What wouldst thou haue? (Boore) what? (thick skin)
speake, breathe, discusse: breefe, short, quicke, snap.

Simp.
Marry Sir, I come to speake with Sir Iohn Falstaffe
from M. Slender.

Host.
There's his Chamber, his House, his Castle, his
standing-bed and truckle-bed: 'tis painted about with
the story of the Prodigall, fresh and new: go, knock and
call: hee'l speake like an Anthropophaginian vnto thee:
Knocke I say.

Simp.
There's an olde woman, a fat woman gone vp into
his chamber: Ile be so bold as stay Sir till she come
downe: I come to speake with her indeed.

Host.
Ha? A fat woman? The Knight may be robb'd: Ile
call. Bully-Knight, Bully Sir Iohn: speake from thy
Lungs Military: Art thou there? It is thine Host, thine
Ephesian cals.

Fal.
How now, mine Host?

Host.
Here's a Bohemian-Tartar taries the comming downe
of thy fat-woman: Let her descend (Bully) let her descend:
my Chambers are honourable: Fie, priuacy? Fie.

Fal.
There was (mine Host) an old-fat-woman euen
now with me, but she's gone.

Simp.
Pray you Sir, was't not the Wise-woman of
Brainford?

Fal.
I marry was it (Mussel-shell) what would
you with her?

Simp.
My Master (Sir) my master Slender, sent to her
seeing her go thorough the streets, to know (Sir) whether
one Nim (Sir) that beguil'd him of a chaine, had the
chaine, or no.

Fal.
I spake with the old woman about it.

Sim.
And what sayes she, I pray Sir?

Fal.
Marry shee sayes, that the very same man that
beguil'd Master Slender of his Chaine, cozon'd him of it.

Simp.
I would I could haue spoken with the Woman
her selfe, I had other things to haue spoken with her too,
from him.

Fal.
What are they? let vs know.

Host.
I: come: quicke.

Fal.
I may not conceale them (Sir.)

Host.
Conceale them, or thou di'st.

Sim.
Why sir, they were nothing but about Mistris
Anne Page, to know if it were my Masters fortune to
haue her, or no.

Fal.
'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

Sim.
What Sir?

Fal.
To haue her, or no: goe; say the woman told me
so.

Sim.
May I be bold to say so Sir?

Fal.
I Sir: like who more bold.

Sim.
I thanke your worship: I shall make my Master
glad with these tydings.

Host.
Thou are clearkly: thou art clearkly (Sir Iohn) was
there a wise woman with thee?

Fal.
I that there was (mine Host) one that hath
taught me more wit, then euer I learn'd before in my
life: and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for
my learning.


Bar.
Out alas (Sir) cozonage: meere cozonage.

Host.
Where be my horses? speake well of them varletto.

Bar.
Run away with the cozoners: for so soone as
I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off, from behinde
one of them, in a slough of myre; and set spurres, and
away; like three Germane-diuels; three Doctor Faustasses.

Host.
They are gone but to meete the Duke (villaine) doe
not say they be fled: Germanes are honest men.

Euan.
Where is mine Host?

Host.
What is the matter Sir?

Euan.
Haue a care of your entertainments: there is a
friend of mine come to Towne, tels mee there is three
Cozen-Iermans, that has cozend all the Hosts of Readins,
of Maidenhead; of Cole-brooke, of horses and money: I
tell you for good will (looke you) you are wise, and full of
gibes, and vlouting-stocks: and 'tis not conuenient you
should be cozoned. Fare you well.

Cai.
Ver' is mine Host de Iarteere?

Host.
Here (Master Doctor) in perplexitie, and doubtfull
delemma.

Cai.
I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a-me, dat you
make grand preparation for a Duke de Iamanie: by my
trot: der is no Duke that the Court is know, to come: I
tell you for good will: adieu.

Host.
Huy and cry, (villaine) goe: assist me Knight, I am
vndone: fly, run: huy, and cry (villaine) I am vndone.

Fal.
I would all the world might be cozond, for I
haue beene cozond and beaten too: if it should come to
the eare of the Court, how I haue beene transformed; and
how my transformation hath beene washd, and cudgeld,
they would melt mee out of my fat drop by drop, and
liquor Fishermens-boots with me: I warrant they would
whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crest-falne as a
dride-peare: I neuer prosper'd, since I forswore my selfe at
Primero: well, if my winde were but long enough;
I would repent:
Now? Whence come you?

Qui.
From the two parties forsooth.

Fal.
The Diuell take one partie, and his Dam the
other: and so they shall be both bestowed; I haue
suffer'd more for their sakes; more then the villanous
inconstancy of mans disposition is able to beare.

Qui.
And haue not they suffer'd? Yes, I
warrant; speciously one of them; Mistris Ford (good
heart) is beaten blacke and blew, that you cannot see a
white spot about her.

Fal.
What tell'st thou mee of blacke, and blew? I
was beaten my selfe into all the colours of the Rainebow:
and I was like to be apprehended for the Witch of
Braineford, but that my admirable dexteritie of wit, my
counterfeiting the action of an old woman deliuer'd me,
the knaue Constable had set me ith' Stocks, ith' common
Stocks, for a Witch.

Qu,
Sir: let me speake with you in your
Chamber, you shall heare how things goe, and (I warrant)
to your content: here is a Letter will say somewhat:
(good-hearts) what a-doe here is to bring you together?
Sure, one of you do's not serue heauen well, that you are
so cross'd.
Come vp into my Chamber.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Fenton, Host.

Host.
Master Fenton, talke not to mee, my minde is heauy:
I will giue ouer all.

Fen.
Yet heare me speake: assist me in my purpose,
And (as I am a gentleman) ile giue thee
A hundred pound in gold, more then your losse.

Host.
I will heare you (Master Fenton) and I will (at the
least) keepe your counsell.

Fen.
From time to time, I haue acquainted you
With the deare loue I beare to faire Anne Page,
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
(So farre forth, as her selfe might be her chooser)
Euen to my wish; I haue a letter from her
Of such contents, as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof, so larded with my matter,
That neither (singly) can be manifested
Without the shew of both: fat Falstaffe
Hath a great Scene; the image of the iest
Ile show you here at large (harke good mine Host:)
To night at Hernes-Oke, iust 'twixt twelue and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Faerie-Queene:
The purpose why, is here: in which disguise
While other Iests are something ranke on foote,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him, at Eaton
Immediately to Marry: She hath consented:
Now Sir,
Her Mother, (euen strong against that match
And firme for Doctor Caius) hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their mindes,
And at the Deanry, where a Priest attends
Strait marry her: to this her Mothers plot
She seemingly obedient) likewise hath
Made promise to the Doctor: Now, thus it rests,
Her Father meanes she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her goe,
She shall goe with him: her Mother hath intended
(The better to deuote her to the Doctor;
For they must all be mask'd, and vizarded)
That quaint in greene, she shall be loose en-roab'd,
With Ribonds-pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
The maid hath giuen consent to go with him.

Host.
Which meanes she to deceiue? Father, or Mother.

Fen.
Both (my good Host) to go along with me:
And heere it rests, that you'l procure the Vicar
To stay for me at Church, 'twixt twelue, and one,
And in the lawfull name of marrying,
To giue our hearts vnited ceremony.

Host.
Well, husband your deuice; Ile to the Vicar,
Bring you the Maid, you shall not lacke a Priest.

Fen.
So shall I euermore be bound to thee;
Besides, Ile make a present recompence.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Mistress Page, Mistress Quickly, and William

MISTRESS PAGE
Is he at Master Ford's already, thinkest
thou?

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Sure he is by this, or will be presently.
But truly he is very courageous mad about his
throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to
come suddenly.

MISTRESS PAGE
I'll be with her by and by – I'll but
bring my young man here to school. Look where his
master comes.
Enter Sir Hugh Evans
'Tis a playing day, I see. How now, Sir Hugh, no school
today?

EVANS
No. Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Blessing of his heart!

MISTRESS PAGE
Sir Hugh, my husband says my son
profits nothing in the world at his book. I pray you,
ask him some questions in his accidence.

EVANS
Come hither, William. Hold up your head. Come.

MISTRESS PAGE
Come on, sirrah. Hold up your head.
Answer your master, be not afraid.

EVANS
William, how many numbers is in nouns?

WILLIAM
Two.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Truly, I thought there had been
one number more, because they say ‘ 'Od's nouns.’

EVANS
Peace your tattlings. What is ‘ fair,’ William?

WILLIAM
Pulcher.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Polecats! There are fairer things
than polecats, sure.

EVANS
You are a very simplicity 'oman. I pray you peace.
What is lapis, William?

WILLIAM
A stone.

EVANS
And what is ‘ a stone,’ William?

WILLIAM
A pebble.

EVANS
No, it is lapis. I pray you remember in your prain.

WILLIAM
Lapis.

EVANS
That is a good William. What is he, William, that
does lend articles?

WILLIAM
Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be
thus declined: Singulariter, nominativo, hic, haec, hoc.

EVANS
Nominativo, hig, hag, hog. Pray you mark:
genitivo, hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?

WILLIAM
Accusativo, hinc.

EVANS
I pray you have your remembrance, child.
Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
‘ Hang-hog ’ is Latin for bacon, I
warrant you.

EVANS
Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative
case, William?

WILLIAM
O – vocativo, O.

EVANS
Remember, William. Focative is caret.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
And that's a good root.

EVANS
'Oman, forbear.

MISTRESS PAGE
Peace!

EVANS
What is your genitive case plural, William?

WILLIAM
Genitive case?

EVANS
Ay.

WILLIAM
Genitive – horum, harum, horum.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Vengeance of Jenny's case! Fie on
her! Never name her, child, if she be a whore.

EVANS
For shame, 'oman.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
You do ill to teach the child such
words. He teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll
do fast enough of themselves, and to call ‘ horum.’ Fie
upon you!

EVANS
'Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings
for thy cases and the numbers of the genders?
Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would
desires.

MISTRESS PAGE
Prithee hold thy peace.

EVANS
Show me now, William, some declensions of your
pronouns.

WILLIAM
Forsooth, I have forgot.

EVANS
It is qui, quae, quod. If you forget your quis, your
quaes, and your quods, you must be preeches. Go your
ways and play. Go.

MISTRESS PAGE
He is a better scholar than I thought he
was.

EVANS
He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress
Page.

MISTRESS PAGE
Adieu, good Sir Hugh.
Exit Evans
Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Falstaff and Mistress Ford

FALSTAFF
Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my
sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love, and I
profess requital to a hair's breadth, not only, Mistress
Ford, in the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure
of your husband now?

MISTRESS FORD
He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.

MISTRESS PAGE
(within)
What ho, gossip Ford. What ho!

MISTRESS FORD
Step into the chamber, Sir John.
Exit Falstaff
Enter Mistress Page

MISTRESS PAGE
How now, sweetheart; who's at home
besides yourself?

MISTRESS FORD
Why, none but mine own people.

MISTRESS PAGE
Indeed?

MISTRESS FORD
No, certainly. (Aside to her) Speak
louder.

MISTRESS PAGE
Truly, I am so glad you have nobody
here.

MISTRESS FORD
Why?

MISTRESS PAGE
Why, woman, your husband is in his
old lines again. He so takes on yonder with my husband,
so rails against all married mankind, so curses all
Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever, and so
buffets himself on the forehead, crying ‘ Peer out, peer
out!’, that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but
tameness, civility, and patience to this his distemper he
is in now. I am glad the fat knight is not here.

MISTRESS FORD
Why, does he talk of him?

MISTRESS PAGE
Of none but him, and swears he was
carried out, the last time he searched for him, in a
basket; protests to my husband he is now here, and hath
drawn him and the rest of their company from their
sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion. But
I am glad the knight is not here. Now he shall see his
own foolery.

MISTRESS FORD
How near is he, Mistress Page?

MISTRESS PAGE
Hard by, at street end. He will be here
anon.

MISTRESS FORD
I am undone. The knight is here.

MISTRESS PAGE
Why, then, you are utterly shamed, and
he's but a dead man. What a woman are you! Away
with him, away with him! Better shame than murder.

MISTRESS FORD
Which way should he go? How should
I bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket again?
Enter Falstaff

FALSTAFF
No, I'll come no more i'th' basket. May I not
go out ere he come?

MISTRESS PAGE
Alas, three of Master Ford's brothers
watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue out.
Otherwise you might slip away ere he came. But what
make you here?

FALSTAFF
What shall I do? I'll creep up into the
chimney.

MISTRESS FORD
There they always use to discharge their
birding pieces.

MISTRESS PAGE
Creep into the kiln-hole.

FALSTAFF
Where is it?

MISTRESS FORD
He will seek there, on my word. Neither
press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an
abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes
to them by his note. There is no hiding you in the
house.

FALSTAFF
I'll go out, then.

MISTRESS PAGE
If you go out in your own semblance,
you die, Sir John. Unless you go out disguised –

MISTRESS FORD
How might we disguise him?

MISTRESS PAGE
Alas the day, I know not. There is no
woman's gown big enough for him. Otherwise he might
put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.

FALSTAFF
Good hearts, devise something. Any extremity
rather than a mischief.

MISTRESS FORD
My maid's aunt, the fat woman of
Brainford, has a gown above.

MISTRESS PAGE
On my word, it will serve him. She's as
big as he is; and there's her thrummed hat and her
muffler too. Run up, Sir John.

MISTRESS FORD
Go, go, sweet Sir John. Mistress Page
and I will look some linen for your head.

MISTRESS PAGE
Quick, quick! We'll come dress you
straight. Put on the gown the while.
Exit Falstaff

MISTRESS FORD
I would my husband would meet him
in this shape. He cannot abide the old woman of
Brainford. He swears she's a witch, forbade her my
house, and hath threatened to beat her.

MISTRESS PAGE
Heaven guide him to thy husband's
cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards!

MISTRESS FORD
But is my husband coming?

MISTRESS PAGE
Ay, in good sadness, is he, and talks of
the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

MISTRESS FORD
We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men
to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with
it, as they did last time.

MISTRESS PAGE
Nay, but he'll be here presently. Let's
go dress him like the witch of Brainford.

MISTRESS FORD
I'll first direct my men what they shall
do with the basket. Go up. I'll bring linen for him
straight.

MISTRESS PAGE
Hang him, dishonest varlet! We cannot
misuse him enough.
We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too.
We do not act that often jest and laugh;
'Tis old but true: 'Still swine eats all the draff.'
Exit
Enter John and Robert

MISTRESS FORD
Go, sirs, take the basket again on your
shoulders. Your master is hard at door. If he bid you
set it down, obey him. Quickly, dispatch.
Exit

JOHN
Come, come, take it up.

ROBERT
Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.

JOHN
I hope not. I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter Ford, Page, Shallow, Caius, and Evans

FORD
Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any
way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket,
villains. Somebody call my wife. Youth in a basket! O
you panderly rascals! There's a knot, a ging, a pack, a
conspiracy against me. Now shall the devil be shamed.
What, wife, I say! Come, come forth! Behold what
honest clothes you send forth to bleaching!

PAGE
Why, this passes, Master Ford. You are not to go
loose any longer. You must be pinioned.

EVANS
Why, this is lunatics. This is mad as a mad dog.

SHALLOW
Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.

FORD
So say I too, sir.
Enter Mistress Ford
Come hither, Mistress Ford. Mistress Ford, the honest
woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that
hath the jealous fool to her husband! I suspect without
cause, mistress, do I?

MISTRESS FORD
Heaven be my witness, you do, if you
suspect me in any dishonesty.

FORD
Well said, brazen-face. Hold it out. – Come forth,
sirrah!
He pulls clothes out of the basket

PAGE
This passes!

MISTRESS FORD
Are you not ashamed? Let the clothes
alone.

FORD
I shall find you anon.

EVANS
'Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your wife's
clothes? Come away.

FORD
Empty the basket, I say.

MISTRESS FORD
Why, man, why?

FORD
Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed
out of my house yesterday in this basket. Why
may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is.
My intelligence is true. My jealousy is reasonable.
Pluck me out all the linen.

MISTRESS FORD
If you find a man there, he shall die a
flea's death.

PAGE
Here's no man.

SHALLOW
By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford.
This wrongs you.

EVANS
Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
imaginations of your own heart. This is jealousies.

FORD
Well, he's not here I seek for.

PAGE
No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.

FORD
Help to search my house this one time. If I find
not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity. Let
me for ever be your table sport. Let them say of me, 'As
jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his
wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more. Once more search
with me.
Exeunt John and Robert with the basket

MISTRESS FORD
What ho, Mistress Page, come you and
the old woman down. My husband will come into the
chamber.

FORD
Old woman? What old woman's that?

MISTRESS FORD
Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brainford.

FORD
A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not
forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she?
We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to
pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works
by charms, by spells, by th' figure; and such daubery as
this is beyond our element – we know nothing. Come
down, you witch, you hag, you. Come down, I say!

MISTRESS FORD
Nay, good sweet husband! – Good
gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.
Enter Falstaff in woman's clothes, and Mistress
Page

MISTRESS PAGE
Come, Mother Prat, come, give me your
hand.

FORD
I'll prat her.
He beats Falstaff
Out of my door, you witch, you rag, you baggage, you
polecat, you ronyon! Out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll
fortune-tell you.
Exit Falstaff

MISTRESS PAGE
Are you not ashamed? I think you have
killed the poor woman.

MISTRESS FORD
Nay, he will do it. – 'Tis a goodly credit
for you.

FORD
Hang her, witch!

EVANS
By yea and no, I think the 'oman is a witch indeed.
I like not when a 'oman has a great peard. I spy a great
peard under his muffler.

FORD
Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow.
See but the issue of my jealousy. If I cry out thus upon
no trail, never trust me when I open again.

PAGE
Let's obey his humour a little further. Come,
gentlemen.
Exeunt Ford, Page, Shallow, Caius, and Evans

MISTRESS PAGE
Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.

MISTRESS FORD
Nay, by th' mass, that he did not. He
beat him most unpitifully, methought.

MISTRESS PAGE
I'll have the cudgel hallowed and hung
o'er the altar. It hath done meritorious service.

MISTRESS FORD
What think you? May we, with the
warrant of womanhood and the witness of a good
conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?

MISTRESS PAGE
The spirit of wantonness is sure scared
out of him. If the devil have him not in fee-simple, with
fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of
waste, attempt us again.

MISTRESS FORD
Shall we tell our husbands how we have
served him?

MISTRESS PAGE
Yes, by all means, if it be but to scrape
the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can
find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall
be any further afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.

MISTRESS FORD
I'll warrant they'll have him publicly
shamed, and methinks there would be no period to the
jest, should he not be publicly shamed.

MISTRESS PAGE
Come, to the forge with it, then. Shape
it. I would not have things cool.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene III
Enter Host and Bardolph

BARDOLPH
Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your
horses. The Duke himself will be tomorrow at court,
and they are going to meet him.

HOST
What duke should that be comes so secretly? I
hear not of him in the court. Let me speak with the
gentlemen. They speak English?

BARDOLPH
Ay, sir. I'll call them to you.

HOST
They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay.
I'll sauce them. They have had my house a week at
command. I have turned away my other guests. They
must come off. I'll sauce them. Come.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene IV
Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and
Evans

EVANS
'Tis one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever
I did look upon.

PAGE
And did he send you both these letters at an instant?

MISTRESS PAGE
Within a quarter of an hour.

FORD
Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt.
I rather will suspect the sun with cold
Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy honour stand,
In him that was of late an heretic,
As firm as faith.

PAGE
'Tis well, 'tis well. No more.
Be not as extreme in submission
As in offence.
But let our plot go forward. Let our wives
Yet once again, to make us public sport,
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.

FORD
There is no better way than that they spoke of.

PAGE
How? To send him word they'll meet him in the
Park at midnight? Fie, fie, he'll never come.

EVANS
You say he has been thrown in the rivers, and has
been grievously peaten as an old 'oman. Methinks there
should be terrors in him, that he should not come.
Methinks his flesh is punished; he shall have no desires.

PAGE
So think I too.

MISTRESS FORD
Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
And let us two devise to bring him thither.

MISTRESS PAGE
There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Received and did deliver to our age
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

PAGE
Why, yet there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Herne's Oak.
But what of this?

MISTRESS FORD
Marry, this is our device:
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
Disguised like Herne, with huge horns on his head.

PAGE
Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come.
And in this shape, when you have brought him thither,
What shall be done with him? What is your plot?

MISTRESS PAGE
That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress
Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands. Upon a sudden,
As Falstaff, she, and I are newly met,
Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
With some diffused song. Upon their sight,
We two in great amazedness will fly.
Then let them all encircle him about,
And, fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight,
And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
In shape profane.

MISTRESS FORD
And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
And burn him with their tapers.

MISTRESS PAGE
The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.

FORD
The children must
Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.

EVANS
I will teach the children their behaviours, and I
will be like a jackanapes also, to burn the knight with
my taber.

FORD
That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.

MISTRESS PAGE
My Nan shall be the Queen of all the Fairies,
Finely attired in a robe of white.

PAGE
That silk will I go buy. (Aside) And in that time
Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away
And marry her at Eton. (To them) Go, send to Falstaff straight.

FORD
Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook.
He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.

MISTRESS PAGE
Fear not you that. Go get us properties
And tricking for our fairies.

EVANS
Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures and fery
honest knaveries.
Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans

MISTRESS PAGE
Go, Mistress Ford,
Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
Exit Mistress Ford
I'll to the doctor. He hath my good will,
And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
And he my husband best of all affects.
The doctor is well moneyed, and his friends
Potent at court. He, none but he, shall have her,
Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
Exit
Modern text
Act IV, Scene V
Enter Host and Simple

HOST
What wouldst thou have, boor? What, thickskin?
Speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.

SIMPLE
Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
from Master Slender.

HOST
There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his
standing-bed and truckle-bed. 'Tis painted about with
the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go, knock and
call. He'll speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee.
Knock, I say.

SIMPLE
There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into
his chamber. I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come
down. I come to speak with her, indeed.

HOST
Ha! A fat woman? The knight may be robbed. I'll
call. Bully knight! Bully Sir John! Speak from thy
lungs military. Art thou there? It is thine host, thine
Ephesian, calls.

FALSTAFF
(above)
How now, mine host?

HOST
Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down
of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend.
My chambers are honourable. Fie, privacy, fie!
Enter Falstaff

FALSTAFF
There was, mine host, an old fat woman even
now with me, but she's gone.

SIMPLE
Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of
Brainford?

FALSTAFF
Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell. What would
you with her?

SIMPLE
My master, sir, my Master Slender, sent to her,
seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether
one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the
chain or no.

FALSTAFF
I spake with the old woman about it.

SIMPLE
And what says she, I pray, sir?

FALSTAFF
Marry, she says that the very same man that
beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him of it.

SIMPLE
I would I could have spoken with the woman
herself. I had other things to have spoken with her too,
from him.

FALSTAFF
What are they? Let us know.

HOST
Ay, come. Quick!

SIMPLE
I may not conceal them, sir.

HOST
Conceal them, or thou diest.

SIMPLE
Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress
Anne Page: to know if it were my master's fortune to
have her or no.

FALSTAFF
'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

SIMPLE
What, sir?

FALSTAFF
To have her or no. Go, say the woman told me
so.

SIMPLE
May I be bold to say so, sir?

FALSTAFF
Ay, sir; like who more bold.

SIMPLE
I thank your worship. I shall make my master
glad with these tidings.
Exit

HOST
Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
there a wise woman with thee?

FALSTAFF
Ay, that there was, mine host, one that hath
taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my
life. And I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for
my learning.
Enter Bardolph

BARDOLPH
Out, alas, sir, cozenage, mere cozenage!

HOST
Where be my horses? Speak well of them, varletto.

BARDOLPH
Run away with the cozeners. For so soon as
I came beyond Eton, they threw me off, from behind
one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs and
away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.

HOST
They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain. Do
not say they be fled. Germans are honest men.
Enter Evans

EVANS
Where is mine host?

HOST
What is the matter, sir?

EVANS
Have a care of your entertainments. There is a
friend of mine come to town tells me there is three
cozen-germans that has cozened all the hosts of Readins,
of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I
tell you for good will, look you. You are wise, and full of
gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you
should be cozened. Fare you well.
Exit
Enter Caius

CAIUS
Vere is mine host de Jarteer?

HOST
Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful
dilemma.

CAIUS
I cannot tell vat is dat. But it is tell-a me dat you
make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany. By my
trot, dere is no duke that the court is know to come. I
tell you for good will. Adieu.
Exit

HOST
Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight. I am
undone! Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!
Exeunt Host and Bardolph

FALSTAFF
I would all the world might be cozened, for I
have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to
the ear of the court how I have been transformed, and
how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled,
they would melt me out of my fat drop by drop, and
liquor fishermen's boots with me. I warrant they would
whip me with their fine wits till I were as crest-fallen as a
dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at
primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say
my prayers, I would repent.
Enter Mistress Quickly
Now, whence come you?

MISTRESS QUICKLY
From the two parties, forsooth.

FALSTAFF
The devil take one party, and his dam the
other! And so they shall be both bestowed. I have
suffered more for their sakes, more than the villainous
inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
And have not they suffered? Yes, I
warrant; speciously one of them. Mistress Ford, good
heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a
white spot about her.

FALSTAFF
What tellest thou me of black and blue? I
was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow;
and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of
Brainford. But that my admirable dexterity of wit, my
counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered me,
the knave constable had set me i'th' stocks, i'th' common
stocks, for a witch.

MISTRESS QUICKLY
Sir, let me speak with you in your
chamber. You shall hear how things go, and, I warrant,
to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat.
Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together!
Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are
so crossed.

FALSTAFF
Come up into my chamber.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene VI
Enter Fenton and Host

HOST
Master Fenton, talk not to me. My mind is heavy.
I will give over all.

FENTON
Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.

HOST
I will hear you, Master Fenton, and I will, at the
least, keep your counsel.

FENTON
From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
Who mutually hath answered my affection,
So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at,
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
That neither singly can be manifested
Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene. The image of the jest
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
Tonight at Herne's Oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen –
The purpose why is here – in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry. she hath consented.
Now, sir,
Her mother – ever strong against that match
And firm for Doctor Caius – hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her. To this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor. Now thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white,
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand and bid her go,
She shall go with him. Her mother hath intended,
The better to denote her to the doctor –
For they must all be masked and vizarded –
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrobed,
With ribands pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.

HOST
Which means she to deceive, father or mother?

FENTON
Both, my good host, to go along with me.
And here it rests – that you'll procure the vicar
To stay for me at church 'twixt twelve and one,
And, in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.

HOST
Well, husband your device. I'll to the vicar.
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.

FENTON
So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
Besides, I'll make a present recompense.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL